Brents' research focuses on the sexual economy, consumption and the sex industry, sex work law and regulation, and the labor of sex work. Overarching themes in Brents' writings address sexuality, gender and politics in market culture. Brents has been active nationally and internationally in sex work research, the sex worker rights movement, the ACLU and various peace and justice movements.
In the News
Explores the concept of pleasure and how it has been shaped by social, historical, and economic contexts. Finds that pleasure has played a key role in the development of modern culture and capitalist political economy, and has been used to reproduce intersecting inequalities in race, class, ability, gender, and sexuality.
Examines results from a survey examining gender role attitudes among attendees at a large pornography convention. Uses bivariate analysis and finds that these porn "superfans" are actually more supportive of gender role equality that men in the US population on two indicators, and similarly supportive on two other measures.
Analyzes a debate to close one of Nevada's legal brothels in the early 2000s, before discussions of sex trafficking reframed prostitution debates. Finds that both support and opposition to the legal brothels were based on ideas of gender justice and individualistic, neoliberal notions of free choice, consumer choice, and economic freedom.
Reviews the major research findings regarding sex trafficking. Mentions that since the issue is so politicized, much public discussion is based on inaccurate data and poorly drawn conclusions. Discuses how we can rethink the issue to better understand and target policies to fight trafficking in the sex industry.
Examines the US only system of legal prostitution in the rural brothels in Nevada.